1

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Can I really be in Ketosis eating approx 100g carbs per day?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 26, 2013 at 8:12 PM

I am a 29 yr old female, 165lb, 5ft4in. I had a baby 3 months ago and am aiming to lose approx 25lb. I have now been doing paleo for three weeks. I was unfortunately unable to breastfeed due to having PCOS and increased testosterone levels so I wasn't producing enough milk.

I have my guideline calories set to 1700, and my carbohydrate amount set at 80g but I usually go over... Anywhere between 100-120g per day. This comes mainly from vegetables like carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers and some dates or strawberries. And sometimes a Paleo mug cake with cocoa and a little honey.

I didn't think this carb level would be low enough to be ketogenic, but I have symptoms of ketosis... Bad breath, body odour, thirsty all the time etc.

I have also found my acne is 100% worse, large painful cysts on my chin which I always associated with hormones (I have PCOS)

Does it sound as though I am in ketosis? Is that normal with this level of carbs? Shouldn't my hormone imbalance and therefore my acne be better now I've cut dairy and sugar? I also haven't lost any weight in about 10 days now, though I lost 6lb in the first 10 days of being paleo.

Any suggestions appreciated! Thanks.

0f44d81f247518d6fc2de0403ff9a68a

on August 27, 2013
at 09:43 AM

80g a day could be ok. It varies a lot from person to person, so I can't say for sure if it's ok or not in your case. You can buy a blood ketone meter and use it at home. The meter itself is inexpensive, only the strips are pretty expensive (although you might be able to buy them from another country). Even if you don't measure everyday, the blood ketone meter will give you way better results than the ketostix. Ketostix are better than nothing, but they're very unreliable, because they measure a different thing and they only measure what leaves your body and not what you have in your blood.

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 27, 2013
at 08:26 AM

Thank you for the informative response. I should have put in my post that I was unable to breastfeed as this obviously makes a big difference to my calorie allowance etc. I will add this now.

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 26, 2013
at 10:47 PM

Haha, exactly! I do ache most days from lifting my girl and although not working I am on my feet all day. Definitely gonna grab some Ketostix tomorrow and if negative then I know I'm just a stinky monkey!

3013d1b44fd7f65b4c8412f229d1d00e

on August 26, 2013
at 10:36 PM

Oh, so you're doing cardio AND weightlifting (lol)! Still, I would imagine that your calorie intake is below your daily expenditure, so it is possible that this level of exercise may be helping you sustain ketosis.

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 26, 2013
at 10:01 PM

Thanks. I'm walking approx 1 hr three times a week with the buggy, but also lifting baby all day etc

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 26, 2013
at 09:03 PM

Thanks Fred. Hmmm, subtracting the fibre I am still averaging 80g a day.. Still high.

4610451431ec7155c87a5698be682a95

(1122)

on August 26, 2013
at 08:55 PM

subtract the fiber from the total - bonus!

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 26, 2013
at 08:33 PM

Thanks for the reply. What do you mean by digestible carbs? I am using MyFitnessPal and just assumes a carb was a carb! Do you think Ketostix might be a good starting point if I can't get bloodwork done?

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7 Answers

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1
0f44d81f247518d6fc2de0403ff9a68a

on August 26, 2013
at 08:29 PM

It's hard to say whether you are in ketosis. The best way to find out is a blood ketone meter. Bad breath can be a sign of getting into ketosis, but it certainly is not a reliable indicator. Some people do tolerate more carbohydrates than others, although usually 100-120g is a bit high, especially for someone just starting with ketosis.

The question: Is if your estimate correct and are you only including digestible carbs?

Concerning the acne, I can tell you from experience that I had an pretty bad outbreak on my neck after a couple of weeks, but it only lasted 1-2 weeks. I am not sure where it comes from, but it might have to do with the hormonal changes accompanying the road to ketosis.

I do recommend the book "The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" and a blood ketone meter to help you get into ketosis. Small changes in diet and lifestyle can result in big changes in blood ketone levels and without a blood ketone meter you won't notice the changes and that might mean that you get kicked out of ketosis. And its necessary to have morning fasting values above 1mM reliably for some time to become keto-adapted.

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 26, 2013
at 09:03 PM

Thanks Fred. Hmmm, subtracting the fibre I am still averaging 80g a day.. Still high.

4610451431ec7155c87a5698be682a95

(1122)

on August 26, 2013
at 08:55 PM

subtract the fiber from the total - bonus!

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 26, 2013
at 08:33 PM

Thanks for the reply. What do you mean by digestible carbs? I am using MyFitnessPal and just assumes a carb was a carb! Do you think Ketostix might be a good starting point if I can't get bloodwork done?

0f44d81f247518d6fc2de0403ff9a68a

on August 27, 2013
at 09:43 AM

80g a day could be ok. It varies a lot from person to person, so I can't say for sure if it's ok or not in your case. You can buy a blood ketone meter and use it at home. The meter itself is inexpensive, only the strips are pretty expensive (although you might be able to buy them from another country). Even if you don't measure everyday, the blood ketone meter will give you way better results than the ketostix. Ketostix are better than nothing, but they're very unreliable, because they measure a different thing and they only measure what leaves your body and not what you have in your blood.

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 27, 2013
at 01:09 AM

If you are nursing, you really need to be eating more calories! Your body may not drop the fat until you do.

Also, new mom sleep deprivation can really inhibit fat loss, so be patient!

Also, get your Vitamin D3 blood level checked. It's almost impossible for your hormones to balance if you are deficient because D3 is a hormone precursor.

And ketosis will happen if you are under eating.

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 27, 2013
at 02:02 AM

If you are nursing, I would hold off on cutting calories or trying to be in ketosis just yet. I know it is so hard to wait, but the first year after at least after having a baby should really be revered as a continuation of pregnancy, and it requires even more calories to make milk than it took to grow your baby. You can do it if you really want to, but dieting when you have a baby relying on you for nutrition will be hard on and potentially damaging for both of you. Your body will work really had to keep up with milk supply (although mine tanked when I tried to go ketogenic about 6 months after my first baby, so I added lots of carbs back in), and even take what it needs from your bones, organs, and brain, so truly patience is key here.

I would take the sudden presence of acne as your body stressing out about this, or your body mobilizing toxins from your adipose tissue, which I wouldn't want in my milk if possible. I know some women will even go to lengths and try to take in many extra calories while nursing to avoid any weight loss if they are nursing to protect the baby from toxins stored in fat tissues. I think going that far is a bit overboard unless you know you were exposed to significant environmental toxins though.

Pregnant and nursing women are also subject to something called accelerated starvation response, so you will switch over to ketosis faster than someone who is not in either of those states. While pregnant, and having very stable blood sugars and adequate food intake with well controlled gestational diabetes, I was still spilling moderate ketones at about 150g carbohydrate, so I think it is entirely possible and even likely that you could be in ketosis at 100g.

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 27, 2013
at 08:26 AM

Thank you for the informative response. I should have put in my post that I was unable to breastfeed as this obviously makes a big difference to my calorie allowance etc. I will add this now.

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 27, 2013
at 01:30 AM

I did a high carb ketosis experiment. I got up to 90g carbs. The key for me was low fat, high protein, moderate carbs. No alcohol, no fructose. Stayed into keotiss up to 4 mmol

0
F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

on August 26, 2013
at 10:54 PM

Might be helpful if I add a food diary example..

Breakfast - 2 boiled eggs or leftover roast chicken, pinenuts and balsamic / evoo dressing

Mid-Morning Snack -Nakd Berry Delight Bar (raw nuts and dates pressed)- or -banana-

Lunch -3oz roast free range chicken, bowl of salad leaves and spinach, EVOO and balsamic dressing- or -Mixed roast veggies (peppers, mushrooms, courgette, onion) and homemade lamb burger-

Afternoon Snack -200ml Almond Milk decaff coffee- or -Baked vegetable chips with lard (carrot, parsnip, beetroot)

Dinner -3oz steak fried in butter with herb rub, roasted cauliflower and broccoli or -Salmon steak with mixed salad veggies and leaves, EVOO and balsamic dressing

Evening snack -Strawberries and blueberries with small handful of nuts/seeds and coconut milk- or -Nakd bar- (if I didn't have one earlier)

0
F26fbc92b18f4689769d6f8746ea40f7

(334)

on August 26, 2013
at 10:01 PM

Are you working out? Check out a recent post by Peter Attia ... some cool insights there with regards to carbs/nutritional ketosis: http://eatingacademy.com/sports-and-nutrition/ketones-carbohydrates-can-co-exist Obviously, nothing beats a ketone/glucose monitor. Hope this helps! Cheers

0
3013d1b44fd7f65b4c8412f229d1d00e

on August 26, 2013
at 09:52 PM

As I understand it (and I could, of course, be wrong) ketostix are a good and cheap rough tool to tell you whether or not you're in ketosis. They're not as accurate as blood ketone meters, but do serve as a rough guide. Put another way: if you only want to find out if you are (or aren't in ketosis), get some ketostix.

Also, I can be in ketosis at even higher levels of carbs if I'm doing pretty intense and consistent physical activity (and my protein levels are down). You didn't mention whether or if you were doing any physical activity, so that would certainly be a factor.

Finally, do drink water! Even if you're not in ketosis, the body does much better with water in it. If you are, your electrolytes and body fluids get flushed out my quickly when your carbs go down (so an increase in sodium, potassium, and magnesium is in order). Good luck.

3013d1b44fd7f65b4c8412f229d1d00e

on August 26, 2013
at 10:36 PM

Oh, so you're doing cardio AND weightlifting (lol)! Still, I would imagine that your calorie intake is below your daily expenditure, so it is possible that this level of exercise may be helping you sustain ketosis.

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 26, 2013
at 10:01 PM

Thanks. I'm walking approx 1 hr three times a week with the buggy, but also lifting baby all day etc

F3b82957e5673b0edaa2450a9d16ed87

(15)

on August 26, 2013
at 10:47 PM

Haha, exactly! I do ache most days from lifting my girl and although not working I am on my feet all day. Definitely gonna grab some Ketostix tomorrow and if negative then I know I'm just a stinky monkey!

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